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  • Writer's pictureLeeyanne Moore

Why You Need a Book Proposal: Barbie Wong's Irresistible New Book Is Ready to Publish

Updated: Mar 1

Barbie Wong
Barbie Wong has a wonderful social media platform & brand.

My friends: meet Barbie Wong!


Who is Barbie? Barbie is a music educator. Barbie’s who you go to when your three year old stumbles over to the piano and wants to plunk on the keys day after day after day. Should you get your child music lessons? But he’s three. Talk to Barbie. Barbie’s who you talk to when your child suddenly won’t practice piano and screams she wants to quit and you don’t know what to do because practice time is becoming like the Ukrainian conflict in your otherwise peaceful home. Barbie’s who you talk to when having a child who plays some musical instrument is just something everyone does in your family, and yet your child is very ‘meh’ on the subject.


Barbie’s written a fabulous book currently titled: Becoming Musical: How to Raise a Joyous, Musical Child. She herself is a joyous musical person whether she’s teaching piano or ‘ukulele. She's rocked out in various Bay Area bands playing tango, classical, rock, and Hawaiian music. She’s also a mom in the Bay Area of California, raising two fabulous children, a Stanford alum, and has her master’s in music.


What does she want? Barbie wants to create community, support, and tools to help parents of musical learners. She wants to publish a book that will help parents nurture their child’s music ability from toddler age through the teen years.


Why can’t she get it? Now that her book is written, she’s ready to get her book out into the world. However, before she can be traditionally published, she’ll need an agent. She needs to do agent research, write a query letter and get together a book proposal. I helped her with an excellent query letter, and agent research has been done.


There’s just one part left:  The book proposal.

This is where we take a big gulp. The art of the query letter can be equated to the art of a poem—it should be concise and should make you feel some way about something important to you. The book proposal, on the other hand, is more like a proposal of marriage. You seek a partnership. You lay out all your good points, describe the community out there ready to celebrate you and your offspring—your book baby. You’re creating a visionary pathway, a practical guide to how you will show off your book baby to the world, based very realistically on what you can do in person and online with the money and platform you already have.


At one point, Barbie deep in burnout mode said: “I don’t understand. Which comes first? Agent research? Query letter? Or book proposal?” It actually doesn’t matter. You have to do all three for a non-fiction book before approaching an agent. I tend to recommend agent research first, because when I research agents, there’s a feel-it-touch-it-taste-it excitement that arises in me. I’ve seen others experience that excitement too. Sometimes that energy helps you over the remaining hurdles of facing unknown forms.


Why is the book proposal such a thing?

Ultimately, what’s it really about?

It’s about making a case for your book to the editor. That editor, in turn, will use what you’ve assembled to make a similar case to the marketing people at the publisher.

Your case covers four basic things, but you do it from various angles:

  • Why this book is something people will really want to buy?

  • Who, exactly, will buy it? (Your target audience.)

  • Why there isn’t already a book out there that is serving the same needs as this book aims to serve.

  • Why you’re the one to write this book and then go out and advocate for it across the land/internet.


Jane Friedman can teach you all about book proposals HERE. She’ll teach you all about the art of the book proposal, but if you want hand holding, cheerleading, guidance, accountability and energy –or someone to just write the proposal for you--contact me.  


The proposal doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be perfect either. Sometimes there’s a significant heaping of “right time, right place” that can happen. My tingly Spidey sense says that Barbie is poised in a real window of opportunity.


Non-fiction is the one place where you very much need to have a platform to interact with readers, potential readers, and fans. Barbie is set up with a platform that has a fabulous look and feel. I see how appealing she is when she shows up to everything she does: warm, friendly, knowledgeable and with a passion in her heart about music, parents, and kids. I just know agents will take a hard look and find her and her book equally irresistible. Check out her YouTube channel.




1)    What I find most amazing is this paradigm Barbie created  that anyone can begin using on their kids in seconds. I l-o-v-e the paradigm. I actually find myself using it on things like rowing or writing—things that aren’t even practicing music. (This is me, eyeballing book two.)


2)    I also find her warm tone so relaxing. It’s like one of those inspirational parenting books you see at Barnes & Noble that makes you feel like you and your child, hand in hand, are going to experience the profound, sublime beauty the world has to offer.


3)    Talking about not being perfect: Barbie shares her own story about growing up with immigrant parents and the discord that practicing piano raised. She reveals her own failures and triumphs raising her family to be musical—a family of different races and gender identities. Her story's a Rubik’s cube of diversity blended into a harmonious whole. 


4)    But the icing on the cake for me, is that she has these fascinating little biographical moments she shares of all kinds of famous musicians—such as Elton John, Yo-Yo-Ma and Alicia Keys. She talks about her paradigm and how when we look at their biographies—we can see the same elements at work in these famous artists as they were becoming who we know them today.


5)    Meanwhile, so many parents come away from her workshops feeling not just better about how to get their child to practice daily, but they often comment they feel that they’ve gained some wisdom about parenting. These insights and tips about coaxing a child to study music in a way that fosters connections between parent and child---this is parenting gold


This is me giving a contented sigh. It’s nice to have someone to hold your hand through this process, because it’s easy to second guess yourself. You want someone who can help you shore up your energy. Not only is this stage of getting your book out there different in energy and feel from actually writing the book, but there’s a lot going on in the publishing world right now. It’s helpful to have someone who can sift out all the noise. If you are itching to write a book: a novel, a memoir, a non-fiction book, and you know that you will move exponentially faster with some support, I literally have only one spot left open in my schedule at this point, and I am here to help you. Reach out through my contact form. Let’s talk.


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